Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The digital divide and disparate impact

According to statistics recently published by Mashable, the digital divide—those who are connected to the Internet versus those who are not—is partially racial. 72% of white homes are connected to the Internet, as compared to only 57% of Hispanic homes and 55% of African American homes.

These numbers mean that if you are using access to technology as a qualifying factor for employment, your hiring practices might have a disparate impact on Hispanics and African Americans. For example, do you only accept job application over the Internet? Or, do you only recruit via Monster.com or LinkedIn? Or do you only consider candidates whom you can vet via Facebook or some other digital footprint? If so, you might want to consider casting a wider net, unless remote technology access is truly job related and consistent with business necessity.

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